Family killed in crash near Riverdale identified

Family and friends are grieving the loss of a Riverdale mother and her four young children killed in car accident Saturday night. The crash happened at the intersection of Marks and Excelsior near the Fresno-Kings County line.
February 16, 2014 3:47:34 PM PST
Family and friends are grieving the loss of a Riverdale mother and her four young children killed in car accident Saturday night. The crash happened at the intersection of Marks and Excelsior near the Fresno-Kings County line.

California Highway Patrol officers said a woman ran a stop sign and caused the accident. They have identified her as 41-year-old Juana Martinez Bajarano of Riverdale. She is in Community Regional Medical Center listed in fair condition. CHP said she did not have a driver's license.

Family members only have pictures to remember the victim's killed in the fiery crash. Their pictures are placed at a memorial at the site where they were killed.

Family members have identified the mother as 29-year-old Esmeralda Saucedo. Her two daughters have been identified as 11-year-old Breanna Reyes-Saucedo and 6-year-old Jada Saucedo. Her two sons have been identified as 3-year-old Nikko Saucedo and 1-year-old Isaac Saucedo.

"She was a good mom. She always had her babies with her," Nora Escalante said.

Escalante knew the victim's family and said the Saucedos live less than two miles from where the accident took place.

Family members say the family was on their way to a restaurant in Fresno to celebrate Isaac's second birthday, which would have been Monday. California Highway Patrol said that is when the driver of a red minivan ran a stop sign as it was heading west on Excelsior, colliding with the family's Ford SUV as it drove south on Marks.

CHP said the father was following behind the SUV and saw the accident happen. He watched as his family's car burst into flames after the crash and frantically ran over to try and help.

"He seemed to be so distraught, he was wanting to get his wife and children out of the car and my husband had to intervene because he was in such shock, at that point we just had to pull him away." witness Lori Pierce said.

Neighbors say the intersection has seen many accidents. There are stop signs on Excelsior, but not on Marks. Many say there need to be bumps or flashing lights to make traffic slow down or stop.

Robert and Lori Pierce said this is not the first life taken at the intersection of Marks and Excelsior Avenues.

"My husband and I live here in this intersection for 15 years, and there's seven fatalities that could've been prevented from people knowing when to stop," Lori Pierce said.

Kathy Ervin who owns the property where the vehicles crashed said she will be going to Riverdale community leaders this week to ask them to do something with the intersection. She said she will ask for lights or anything to get people to slow down and stop.

"How much did it cost for all these people come out last night? It would've cost far less to put in lights, lights that have flashers, and it would've cost put in second flash lights and far less to be in reflective bump," Kathy Ervin said.

The Riverdale joint Unified School District released this statement Sunday: "We are aware that this will impact all school sites, and arrangements are currently underway for additional counseling support in the classrooms the children attend, as well as the grade levels and school sites that are certain to be impacted."

CHP says the woman who allegedly ran the stop sign could face vehicular manslaughter charges.

If you would like to make a donation to the family two accounts have been made in their name. Donations made to either one of these accounts will help the family with funeral expenses.

Esmerelda Tafoya-Saucedo Memorial Fund

Saucedo family funeral expense donations


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